In 1970 when Lee Kuan Yew wanted to appoint PAP MP Hon Sui Sen as Finance Minister and retain E W Barker in cabinet, he claimed that political wages were “not fair”, “unrealistic”, etc. If wages were not increased, it would have been “impossible to attract men of integrity and ability”.
And so the PAP-controlled Parliament approved the first pay hike for ministers by 80%. Link
Seriously, men of integrity would have felt empathy for fellow struggling citizens and rejected high salaries while in public office.
To demonstrate his commitment to the policy of no wage increases without productivity growth, LKY’s pay remained at $3500. But the next thing Singaporeans knew was LKY’s own pay increased by 171% to $9500 in 1973. Did productivity increase by 171% from 1970 or for that matter, since 1965? Of course – with absolute power – PAP need not mind what the people thought.
Over the years, PAP subjected the people to insults while increasing their own pay. The man with the 171% salary increase had this justification:
Problem is, current political salaries have not only stagnated since 2012 but drastically reduced post 2011 ministerial salary review. Since ministers are not paid a discounted market-rate salary according to PAP’s own formula, does this mean we have corrupt leaders today? Of course not.
In 1993, the Goh Chok Tong government decided that time was again right for another round of salary hike despite a recent increase in 1989. Simultaneously insulting himself, Goh told Singaporeans that ministerial salary must be high enough for potential younger leaders to sacrifice their “comforts and privacy”. According to Goh, these are the consequences:
Since current ministers are underpaid, does it mean that all of them are incompetent leaders?
More serious than having inadequate ministers, according to Goh:
Since current political salaries are an insult to PAP elites, Goh should clarify if he thinks ministers are monkeys or retract his stupid statement.
To put the issue of relatively very low ministerial pay into perspective, PM Lee’s current salary is only slightly more than 10% of his salary in 2000. However, all Singaporeans would agree that his job is so much tougher than his predecessor’s 17 years ago.
In 2000, Singapore’s GDP was only US$95 billion. Today, our GDP has increased to about US$300 billion.
Isn’t it strange that ministers have continued to volunteer to earn stagnant salaries instead of quitting en masse?
Or maybe our GDP growth figures are all fake, government statistics no pakai?
Even PM Lee had demanded to be paid “realistic and correct salaries” and current salaries are anything but realistic and correct.
According to PM Lee, high ministerial salary is a prerequisite for PAP to attract “talent”, “morally upright people” and “the right people for the right jobs”.
Now that PAP’s conditions have not been met, does this imply that PAP ministers are fake talents, not morally upright people and not the right people for the right jobs?
Is this why our 19 MRT stations are in ICU? Or perhaps PAP did not manage to get the right people for the job and therefore 2 MRT trains langgar this month?
Hopefully, PAP leaders will laugh at themselves and agree that they were only talking cock. If they weren’t, they must have own self shot own foot. 🙂